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Teacher files court case after being fired over Facebook posts

A U.S. District Court judge has allowed a New Jersey high school teacher to continue with her lawsuit that she had previously filed against her former employer. The teacher was suspended in 2011 for making anti-gay remarks on Facebook and has since been involved in two years worth of legal battles.

The case stems from an incident after the high school posted a billboard notifying people of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. The teacher, who is also an ordained minister and onetime adviser for the school's Christian Bible Study group, posted a message on her Facebook account deriding homosexuals for "unnatural immoral behaviors." Her post brought on enough attention to make the head of a gay rights group ask that she be held accountable. Some people suggested that she be terminated. The results were suspension without pay for three months and her resignation in June 2012.

However, that did not stop the teacher from filing a 2013 lawsuit claiming that school officials violated her free speech and religious rights. She also took issue with school officials allegedly ignoring what she viewed as racist replies to her Facebook post. A U.S. District Court judge rejected the Union Township Board of Education's request for a dismissal of her lawsuit. The board only settled her tenure charges. She can still argue her case in front of a federal judge to possibly receive reinstatement, back pay and monetary damages.

For teachers who are concerned about their civil rights in and out of school environments, an attorney's advice may be important. Teachers in such a situation may want to provide any documentation of employment regulations.

Source: NJ.com, "N.J. teacher who made anti-gay remarks on Facebook scores legal victory in bid to get job back," Thomas Zambito, Feb. 24, 2015

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